RCMP therapy dog retires

One of the RCMP's fluffiest civilian members has reached his max.

Max is a crisis and therapy dog working for the Prince George RCMP's Victim Services Unit. In fact, Max was the RCMP's first professional therapy dog in Canada.

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Tuesday was Max's last shift. He retired with a public reception and lots of loving rubs and hugs.

"Max has enjoyed a vast and impactful career within the RCMP's Victim Services Unit," said Prince George RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Craig Douglass. "For over five years - 35 dog years - Max has assisted those young and old in our city and other communities in B.C. His kind demeanor and calming presence has helped clients by providing support during a crisis, or as they speak to police or testify in court."

In 2013, Victim Services Coordinator Krista Levar officially welcomed Max onto the team after the affable yellow lab completed a specialized training stint with Kirby MacInnes and Jessica Germaine of locally based Pawsitive Horizons, a training and programming centre for therapy dogs.

"When I heard about therapy dogs being used by other police forces, I knew this was a direction I wanted our program to take," Levar said.

In addition to Max, the first cohort of these specialists in public affection also included Grimmus, a long-haired German shepherd handled by MacInnes, and Chara, a German shepherd-Labrador retriever cross handled by victim services volunteer Ruth Walker.

All three were rescues found at the local SPCA.

In addition to being the first full-time professional therapy dog within the RCMP in Canada, Max can also claim these career highlights:

First therapy dog in B.C. to go to court with a child victim;

Winner of the Unsung Hero Award for Community Service in 2016;

Shared, with Levar, the 2017 BC Achievement Award for their work together.

"In his retirement, Max plans to do some relaxing and swimming at various lakes, guard his front porch and enjoy getting treats without having to work for them," said Douglass.

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